By OCinSite At-Large | August 10, 2011 12:38 PM
Sunglasses never looked so good nor performed their job so well. Kaenons are sported here.
By Kelsi Maree Borland | Photos by Jody Tiongco | Newport Beach Magazine, July/August 2011
Sunglasses are a must-have fashion accessory in Southern California. Whether on the beach, shopping at Fashion Island or driving down Pacific Coast Highway, you need a great pair of shades. From the best frames to what to look for in eye protection, Newport Beach’s sunglass shops have just what you need to get through the summer in style.
Sunglass designers have been looking to the past for inspiration, meaning this summer, beach goers will be wearing retro styles all around town. “The current overall trend in eyewear is retro,” says Francis Bourdage, the assistant manager at OSA Sun in Fashion Island. “Aviators are the number one selling style for women by far, and followed closely by wayfarer-inspired shapes and cat eye designs.” For aviators, Francis recommends the Benedict by Oliver Peoples and the Charles by Tom Ford. These are classic aviator styles with a sleek metal frame, the perfect way to celebrate the retro trend.
Claire Loi, the owner of Balboa Eyewear, agrees that current sunglass styles are coming from the past, with aviators and wayfarers taking the lead. “The 80’s look is really popular,” she says, recommending Ray Ban as the best choice for aviator and wayfarer styles. Keeping with the retro trend, cat eye frames are also making their way into modern fashion. “Cat eyes have been a lot more popular lately, especially with Christian Dior,” says Claire.
But, not all of these retro-inspired frames have to look the same. At Kaenon Polarized, styles from the 50s and 60s, like aviators and wayfarers influence their designs, but founder Steve Rosenberg, explains, “We put a sporty, performance element in these designs, along with a healthy dose of the California lifestyle that we live.” He recommends styles like Burnet and Sequence, which are some of their best sellers.
Summer sunglasses are made for the sun ... and shade!
The popular trend may be the result of women preferring lightweight fames. Hamid Karamian, the manager at Sunglass Plus, says “Some women are very sensitive to heavy glasses.” Aviators and wayfarers are lightweight frames, offering the best from both comfort and fashion. Although he insists that style depends mostly on personal preference, he agrees that Tom Ford and Ray Ban have the most popular styles.
The Trend for Men
For men, aviator styles dominate, with many different brands producing unique twists on the classic. “Aviator shapes are the best selling style for men,” says Hamid, from the Sunglass Plus. Although Ray Ban is the best-selling brand for the aviator look overall, he explains that Prada and Persol are the best selling brands for men’s aviator styles. These brands both have multiple options and great fits, so they are a great place to start looking for aviators. Claire also recommends the Carrera brand for aviator styles, explaining “plastic frames have been really popular for men because they are lightweight and durable.”
Although aviator styles are so popular, active men require a sunglass frame that can keep up with them. Steve at Kaenon says that active lifestyles both at the beach and in the mountains are the greatest influence for their men’s designs, “which combines function, with understated elegance, comfort and image,” he says.
Although aviators are dominating men’s sunglass styles, Francis insists that it is not as simple for men. “Sunglasses can be such a personal thing,” says Francis. If men are looking for a more sophisticated look, Francis does recommend the aviator style. But, “for more of a casual style, brands like Oakley and Maui Jim are perfect. They make great plastic wraparound frames which a lot of people love because of the coverage and protection it offers,” he says.
Although sunglasses can make and outfit, eye protection is the real reason they are Orange County’s most popular accessory, but there seems to be confusion about the difference between UV protection and polarized lenses. “UV Protection is what actually provides you with a health benefit. It protects your eyes from three different kinds of ultra violet rays, which can be cancerous. Polarization is more of a comfort aspect to the glasses because it eliminates up to 99.9% of sun glare,” says Francis. Claire agrees, explaining, “Purchasing sunglasses labeled UV Protection is the most important.” Then, if you have sensitive eyes, polarized lenses are an extra protection because they reflect glare from any surface—water, the road, your dashboard.
Jack’s Surf Shop | Balboa Eye Wear
For the best technology in polarized lenses, Kaenon is where it’s at. “Not all polarized lenses are equal,’ reminds Steve. “Kaenon Polarized invented and patented an entirely new lens material that allows our lenses to have the optical clarity of glass, to not shatter and still remain the lightest weight lens on the planet,” he explains about their advanced polarized technology. And although he agrees that UV protection and polarization have nothing to do with each other, he also reminds beach goers that all sunglasses should be 100 % UV protected.
Claire warns however, that polarized lenses aren’t for everyone. “Pilots, for example, can’t wear polarized lenses because they can’t see the gears on their dashboard clearly,” she says. On the other hand, if you work near water or drive throughout the day, polarized lenses will remove the glare from the road and water, providing greater eye comfort. She recommends wearing the sunglasses outside and considering your daily needs first, because polarized lenses may affect your vision in certain circumstances.
Frames that Fit
No matter what frames are in style, they won’t look their best if they don’t fit well. “Sunglasses are only supposed to come in contact at the bridge of the nose and behind the ears. Any kind of contact to the face can cause discomfort and lenses fogging up,” says Francis. Claire agrees that the nose bridge is the most important aspect of good-fitting sunglasses. “That is where the beauty is,” she says.
After finding a pair that fits the nose bridge, Francis recommends finding glasses that fit your face shape well. “If the glasses aren’t proportional to the size of the face there is no way they will look natural. When picking glasses go with the opposite shape of your face. If your face is round go with square or rectangular, and if it is rectangular or longer, go with a slightly rounded frame,” he says.
Hamid, however, believes that fit is about personal preference, and finding a pair that is comfortable for you. This can mean trying on several frames in your favorite style. “When you find a shape in your preference that fits well, that is the final decision,” he says.
WHERE TO SHOP:
Balboa Eyewear; 710 E Balboa Blvd.; 949-723-0783
Dita Legends; Fashion Island; 949-717-7793; ditalegends.com
Jack’s Surfboards; 2727 Newport Blvd.; 949-673-2300 jackssurfboards.com
Oliver Peoples; South Coast Plaza; 714-557-7000; oliverpeoples.com
Optica; South Coast Plaza; 714-556-7808; opticalshopofaspen.com
OSA Sun; Fashion Island; 949-759-8248; opticalshopofaspen.com
Sabre Vision; 436 32nd Street; 949-675-6709; sabre.fm
Sunglass Hut; South Coast Plaza; 714-556-2174; sunglasshut.com
Sunglass Plus; 1799 Newport Blvd.; 949.645.4141; sunglassplusrx.com